Folk Thursday: Bobby Pinson

May 27, 2010

This guy is probably the best lyricist in Nashville right now.


Feline haiku

May 25, 2010

Here is a poem about Walter’s life, told from his perspective:

Big, gray mockingbird
Singing outside my window.
When can I eat him?

Here is a poem about Walter’s life, told from a human perspective:

Big, gray mockingbird
Defecates on my mailbox.
Please, Walter: Eat him.

I wish I had video of this bird. It spends all day long taunting Walter.

It starts out by sitting on top of the mailbox just outside Walter’s window, staring at him as if to say, “You want a piece of me?”

Walter stares back at the bird until it flies up to the corner of the porch roof and stares down at him for a while. Walter stands on his hind legs, stretches his paws up, and swats at the window while chattering frantically at the bird. I’m not sure what he’s saying, but I’m fairly confident that it involves the phrase “Get off my land,” along with several obscenities.

The bird continues to stare down at Walter for a little while and then flies to the tree a few feet away — still within Walter’s line of vision — and sits there until Walter loses interest, at which point the bird makes a great show of flying back to the porch or the mailbox to get his attention again.

I’ve seen this go on for a good 15 minutes at a time. It’s hilarious.


Don’t panic …

May 24, 2010

… if you see otherwise ordinary-looking people carrying towels everywhere they go. They are simply celebrating Towel Day, a holiday created in 2001 to honor the life of the late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

As Adams explains in his most famous book:

A towel … is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta … wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have ‘lost.’

I decorated a special towel just for the occasion:

At least one of my students will be utterly delighted. The rest will think I am crazy, but they think that anyway. I’m hoping to teach the Hitchhiker’s Guide next year if time allows. I have the books; I just have to make the time.


Mother Roading

May 23, 2010

I took some more pictures of Bobby McGee while we were out exploring older alignments of 66 yesterday.

This is the Pryor Creek Bridge in Chelsea. It dates to 1926. It’s hard to believe such a quiet, picturesque location was once one of the busiest highways in the country.

I’m not sure how we overlooked this piece of history on our previous trips through Foyil. It’s on Andy Payne Boulevard — the older alignment of Route 66 through the famous distance runner’s hometown — and obviously dates to the road’s early days. I think I’m going to do a little research and see what I can find out about the property, because it’s a beautiful old station. I thought it made a nice backdrop for the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcar, too.

I need to pick up a photo album and start making some prints, because I want to put together a scrapbook showing all the places my car has been on Route 66 since I hippied it up. I think that would be a cool thing to have available for people to look at when I take it to car shows.



May 23, 2010

Grading papers is a lot less stressful when you do it while sitting in a coffeehouse, surrounded by interesting people who are as hell-bent on saving the world as you are. Just sayin’.


Never mind.

May 23, 2010

BP is not going to use hair booms to control the oil spill. Good thing I found that out before I got to the salon, eh?

Another cause

May 21, 2010

I really hate my hair when it’s short, but at the moment, I think the planet needs it a whole lot worse than I do.

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to Supercuts in Glenpool to have my stylist, Jon, take off a few inches to send to the folks at Matter of Trust, who will stuff my split ends into somebody’s old pantyhose to make a hair boom.

Songdog doesn’t know this yet, but he and Walter will also be contributing to the cause. I take the equivalent of a Pomeranian off of Song every time I get out the shedding blade, and Walter’s big, fluffy tail is basically a giant dustbunny farm. I’ve always thought a resource that abundant must be good for something. As it turns out, it is: When you’re mopping up an oil spill, animal hair is as good as human hair.

If you’re thinking of having your hair trimmed or your pet groomed, please make sure the clippings find their way to the Gulf. Many salons are already collecting hair for this purpose; if your favorite doesn’t, please ask your stylist to save your clippings so you can ship them to Matter of Trust yourself. You have to register online — which is free and takes only a few minutes — and then you’ll be placed on a mailing list to receive updates about where to send your hair. (The organization relies on donated warehouse space, so locations change frequently.)

While you’re at it, head over to the Sierra Club and strike a blow for the good guys by participating in the Best Fundraiser Ever. I sweetened the deal by using my Nature Conservancy credit card to make the donation, thereby helping TWO environmental organizations.

I’d like to see a lot more of this type of fundraiser. Positive action is the best antidote to ignorance and hatred.



May 19, 2010

It’s storming. I am sitting in my warm, dry office, listening to the rain and the thunder and the tree frogs, who don’t mind the storm at all and are just singing their little hearts out in the pond outside. I’m thinking this is probably a really good night to break out the half-and-half and see if I can master the fine art of pouring rosettas in a latte.

I got my updated teaching certificate in the mail today, so I’m all official — I can teach English, journalism, geometry, and any sort of algebra.

Do you suppose I’ll ever reach the point where I can think about myself teaching math without laughing?



May 15, 2010

We have a financial emergency here in Tulsa. Within a matter of hours, the Oklahoma Legislature will decide the future of education in this state. If our legislators vote to cut the education budget, up to 286 of my colleagues could lose their jobs, and my kids will lose some of their favorite teachers. Please read the following action alert and take a few minutes to write a quick e-mail of support for Oklahoma students.


The Oklahoma Legislature is preparing to vote on possible budget cuts to school districts within the state. If these cuts are imposed, Tulsa Public Schools could lose up to 286 teachers. Oklahoma already ranks 46th in the nation for per-pupil spending and 48th for teacher salaries.

Budget cuts during the past year have already forced TPS to make millions of dollars in cuts. If these cuts continue and expand, your favorite teacher’s job could be next.

The Legislature could vote on this issue in a matter of hours, so all of us who care about Oklahoma’s children need to take IMMEDIATE action to let our legislators know where we stand on this issue.

Take a few moments to write a polite e-mail to all Tulsa-area legislators, letting them know where you stand on this issue. Your e-mail should include the following talking points:

* Oklahoma cannot compete with the rest of the nation if our students do not have an adequate education.

* Mention a teacher who has made a significant difference in your life.

* Remind your legislators that they would not be where they are without the efforts of their own teachers.


Send your message to all of the following e-mail addresses:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

(You can do this by copying and pasting this list of addresses into the “To” line of your e-mail.)

Please forward this message to everyone who might be willing to help. Again: Time is of the essence. Write your e-mail IMMEDIATELY. It does not need to be perfect. It just needs to be clear and polite.

That’ll do.

May 14, 2010

I got my math certification test results back this afternoon. I scored 289 out of a possible 300. Looks like I’ll be keeping my job next fall!



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